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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 20, 2020 1 week ago

Health care facility's high-tech 'command center' nets rapid return

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Tampa General Hospital says the $13 million CareComm upgrade has already saved the facility $40 million.

The $13 million Tampa General Hospital spent last year to develop CareComm, its new, ultra-high-tech command center that’s powered by artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, is already paying off. 

The system, which tracks patients’ journeys through the TGH system 24/7, has resulted in a cost savings of $40 million since August 2019, according to a statement. The effort, a partnership with GE Healthcare, is designed to reduce system-wide inefficiencies and decrease the length of patient stays. 

Dr. Peter Chang, the hospital’s vice president of care transitions, told the Business Observer in a November 2019 story that the 8,000-square-foot CareComm facility represents TGH’s attempt to measure and track as much data as possible — emulating a trend that has become commonplace in other industries, but not as well utilized in hospital care. 

“You look at retail, you look at the finance industry, everything is automated,” he says. “The problem we're trying to solve here is about flow and throughput.” 

CareComm’s cleanup of TGH’s patient flow, the release states, has eliminated some 20,000 excess hospitalization days. Also, a subsequent 25% decline in emergency room diversions has resulted in 30 beds of additional capacity without any physical expansion of the hospital. 

"CareComm is not only the center of gravity for our artificial intelligence platform, it's the center of gravity for the entire hospital system," TGH CEO John Couris states in the release. "We feel sometimes that to fix a problem, we've got to build a building or build more capacity. We started to think a little , saying, ‘How do we drive value to the consumer by doing better with what we have and not just simply building more?’” 

At the time CareComm opened, in August 2019, TGH was one of four hospitals in the world to have such a facility. Now, in a testament of how effective CareComm can be, there are more than 200, according to GE Healthcare. And with COVID-19 continuing to plague many states, including Florida, the system couldn’t have come along at a better time, Chang says. 

“CareComm guides our hospital along the path of automating care delivery,” he states in the release. “Over the past year, our team gathered valuable patient insights from our command center which we’ve been able to apply to managing reduced length of stay and better patient flow for all patients – especially in the evolving era of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

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